Tokyo inaugurates National Stadium ahead of 2020 Olympics

Robie de Guzman   •   December 16, 2019   •   767

View of the new National Stadium following its completion in Tokyo, Japan, 15 December 2019. EFE/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Tokyo – The new National Stadium in Tokyo was inaugurated on Sunday six months ahead of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and will have its ground broken in with the final of the Emperor’s Cup final next month.

With its 68,000-seat capacity and design details that highlight Japan’s taste for nature, the stadium was inaugurated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe three months after construction started.

It cost around $1.44 billion to build, slightly under budget. The original proposal for the new stadium was rejected for being too expensive.

Abe said the venue would “leave its mark on history.” The opening ceremony was also attended by the architect behind the project, Kengo Kuma.

It was built on the ground where the old Olympic stadium, used in the 1964 Games, once stood. The National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as athletics competitions.

On a press tour, representatives of the team responsible for building the venue said they had used the natural world as inspiration for its design.

The seats are painted in five different colors spread around at random and represent an impressionist depiction of a forest.

The roof is fastened with steel beams but also incorporates wood from across the country, giving the stadium a more traditional feel.

The cross beams on the ceiling and the uncovered central circle give spectators the feeling they are in a nest.

Tens of thousands of trees are being planted in the space around the stadium.

As part of their environmental commitments, organizers will maintain the pitch with recycled rainwater.

The construction of the National Stadium was delayed after the original project, an extravagant design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, was scrapped for being too costly.

Kuma took over the project. He is known for designing the Nagasaki Museum of Art.

The stadium will host the final of the Emperor’s Cup on 1 January. EFE-EPA

ag/jt The new National Stadium in Tokyo was inaugurated on Sunday six months ahead of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and will have its ground broken in with the final of the Emperor’s Cup final next month.

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Japan accuses China of pushing territorial claims

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2020

Japan’s annual defense review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.

“We’ve written some details about China’s persistent moves to attempt to alter the status quo surrounding the Senkaku Islands which is our territory,” said Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday (July 14).

The white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Tuesday described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.

Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Akiko Okamoto)

Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming COVID-19, Tokyo governor says

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.

The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.

“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.

Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Tokyo 2020 expects to secure all venues for Games — local media

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).

Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.

However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.

Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.

Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.

Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)

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